Green Room

Chart of the Day: How does a bill become law?

posted at 3:47 pm on February 6, 2014 by

Schoolhouse Rock taught this to a generation of youngsters, myself included:

Reality these days is a little more … complex, as the Sunlight Foundation discovered (via Chris Cillizza):

sunlight-bill

You sure do have to climb a lot more steps now.

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I need a road map.

ImmigrantsWife on February 6, 2014 at 3:52 PM

And those steps aren’t an improvement.

Cindy Munford on February 6, 2014 at 4:04 PM

The font is too small for me to read. Does it include: back room deal among “leadership,” followed by lobbyists drafting a several thousand page bill, leadership bringing the bill to a vote within 24 hours, when nobody has read it, etc., etc.?

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 4:08 PM

That chart is now inoperative now that President Choom has a pen and a phone.

RoadRunner on February 6, 2014 at 4:12 PM

But… But… “Bill” never let us read him, so I guess you really do have to pass him see what’s in him.

Conservative Mischief on February 6, 2014 at 4:25 PM

The font is too small for me to read. Does it include: back room deal among “leadership,” followed by lobbyists drafting a several thousand page bill, leadership bringing the bill to a vote within 24 hours, when nobody has read it, etc., etc.?

besser tot als rot on February 6, 2014 at 4:08 PM

I’d say that’s a pretty accurate summary. Maybe we should turn it into a cartoon.

The Rogue Tomato on February 6, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I think the chart leaves out deem and pass

Conservative2theCore on February 6, 2014 at 4:53 PM

I’d say that’s a pretty accurate summary. Maybe we should turn it into a cartoon.

The Rogue Tomato on February 6, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Someone already has. It’d be funny if it weren’t so true. Except it’s $17 tril now.

inviolet on February 6, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Or one could just ask Teh SCOAMT to use his pen and phone.

Steve Eggleston on February 6, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Or one could just ask Teh SCOAMT to use his pen and phone.

Steve Eggleston on February 6, 2014 at 4:58 PM

I thought these were being written by the Congressional Black Communists instead?

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 5:09 PM

And, all laws should have a five year sunset clause.

Fallon on February 6, 2014 at 5:14 PM

And, all laws should have a five year sunset clause.

Fallon on February 6, 2014 at 5:14 PM

I agree.

But it should be even more strict than that. Every law has a 5 year sunset clause MINUS one year for every page beyond 2 in length, to a minimum of 1 year.

Meaning: Any law more than 4 pages long would have to be re-authorized annually.

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 5:24 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?

forest on February 6, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Can’t read the text.
Is there a line to jump the entire process and go straight to Imperial Decree?

dentarthurdent on February 6, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Sausage-making sure is complicated.

Bitter Clinger on February 6, 2014 at 6:11 PM

…Meaning: Any law more than 4 pages long would have to be re-authorized annually.

ConstantineXI on February 6, 2014 at 5:24 PM

As long as the minimum font size is 24, double spaced, maximum paper size is 5×7″, no delegating rule-making authority to bureaucrats (or anyone) and no reference to any outside document allowed, other than the constitution. And scrap the minimum of one year, just make it go to zero.

Fenris on February 6, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Do schools teach civics anymore? It’s an honest question. I know it’s in decline, but there must be some that still do, or are trying to bring it back..

PunditFaP on February 6, 2014 at 6:25 PM

I think the chart leaves out deem and pass

Conservative2theCore on February 6, 2014 at 4:53 PM

aka “demon pass” 😀

Sachiko on February 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM

How does a bill become law? Why, that’s easy. A lobbyist makes a payment to a Representative or a Senator. After the check clears, the Rep or Senator votes the way the lobbyist wanted. Then, in the next election the Rep or Senator admits or denies having voted for the bill, depending upon which direction the political winds are blowing. After serving as a Rep or Senator for 45 years, the Rep or Senator becomes a lobbyist and the process is repeated.

Jeez! Didn’t youse people learn anythang in government schools?

FortyTwo on February 6, 2014 at 9:09 PM

None of this matters.. because at the same time countless bureaucracies in America make thousands of more laws every year without a single vote or committee meeting.

JellyToast on February 6, 2014 at 9:31 PM

Actually congress has bypassed most of that – for a huge percentage of laws, Congress never bothers to vote on it at all – these days they just allow the various departments to pass whatever regulations they want without the necessity of cumbersome bills and all that, you know, silly Constitutional type stuff. (do I really need to add the “/sarc” tag for the “silly” bit?)

Rational Db8 on February 7, 2014 at 1:29 AM

That chart is now inoperative now that President Choom has a pen and a phone.

RoadRunner on February 6, 2014 at 4:12 PM

And who says that Dear Leader isn’t making government more efficient?

NavyMustang on February 7, 2014 at 3:38 AM

That chart is now inoperative now that President Choom has a pen and a phone.

RoadRunner on February 6, 2014 at 4:12 PM

And who says that Dear Leader isn’t making government more efficient?

NavyMustang on February 7, 2014 at 3:38 AM

Well, we can certainly say he’s making it far more dictatorial and far less Constitutional.

Rational Db8 on February 7, 2014 at 4:08 AM

I propose adding one more step to the process through the following Constitutional Amendment:

“No bill shall become law until it is read aloud, in its entirety, from the steps of the Capitol Building by a voting member of the legislature that passes it. No shelter from the elements can be provided the member reading the bill, and if the legislature’s term of office ends before completion of the reading, the bill is null and void. This provision cannot be waived.”

That will kill 1000-page bills.

No Truce With Kings on February 7, 2014 at 7:34 AM

Sure looks like this process could benefit from a lean project.

take responsibility on February 7, 2014 at 10:35 AM

I propose adding one more step to the process through the following Constitutional Amendment:

“No bill shall become law until it is read aloud, in its entirety, from the steps of the Capitol Building by a voting member of the legislature that passes it. No shelter from the elements can be provided the member reading the bill, and if the legislature’s term of office ends before completion of the reading, the bill is null and void. This provision cannot be waived.”

That will kill 1000-page bills.

No Truce With Kings on February 7, 2014 at 7:34 AM

Absolutely. I would also add… there shall be no rider bills. Every bill shall live and die on its own merit and not “parasite” off of more popular bills.

dominigan on February 7, 2014 at 2:01 PM


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